Wonka’s Biggest Plot Holes and Unanswered Questions

The following contains major spoilers for Wonka, now playing in theaters.


When Warner Bros. decided to reboot the Willy Wonka franchise, some fans were skeptical. Many felt, after the Tim Burton remake with Johnny Depp in 2005, maybe the studio didn’t know how to recapture the magic of the Gene Wilder depiction from 1971. There is a fiercely loyal fan base, after all, not just for the original, but Roald Dahl’s novels in general. Luckily, this origin story that is retold in Wonka is filled with heart, soul and a modern update that is sure to resonate with families for the Christmas season.


Timothée Chalamet as Willy Wonka delivers a resplendent performance as a dreamer who traverses the globe with the intention of opening his own boutique and sharing his magical sweets with everyone. Thankfully, Willy is able to stave off the “Chocolate Cartel” and achieve his goal, forging unique bonds and a new family along the way. However, as heart-warming as Wonka is, it does end with quite a few plot holes and questions left unresolved.


6 Who is Willy Wonka’s Father?

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A major theme in Wonka is that of parentage. Willy’s dream was fueled by his own mother, who made confectionery delights for him before she got ill and died. Using her as motivation, Willy scoured the globe for the best ingredients so that he could drum up sweets and share her message with the world about how a lovely dessert can unite everyone. Her memory also spurs him on to liberate Noodle and other friends from servitude after they get enslaved by Scrubitt. In Wonka’s emotional ending, Willy actually reunites Noodle with her birth mother, living vicariously through the bond.

Ironically, Willy’s own father is never addressed. Given Willy that cracked the mystery about Noodle’s father dying, her uncle Slugworth stealing her inheritance, and then hiding the girl away, one would have thought Noodle would have asked Willy about his father. Even in the flashback story prior that he recalls, it’s all about Willy and his mother. This leaves fans wondering if Willy’s father has been kept a mystery that could be detailed in a Wonka sequel, the same way the MCU hid Ego as Star Lord’s father. Seeing as Willy does keep some secrets close to his chest, it definitely is a burning question that is ripe with potential should Warner Bros. Discovery executives decide to expand the property into a franchise.

5 How Did Willy Wonka Build a Chocolate Shop?

Willy’s crew repeatedly sneak out of Scrubitt’s wash house, eventually buying a shop after making enough money from selling chocolate on the black market. This advances the plot so that the cartel could poison the chocolates and get the public to burn the place down. But Wonka never explains how Willy’s team could have built this giant establishment in the first place. There would have been noise, plus they would have needed permits and equipment to build the shop. It would’ve also raised many red flags in a city the cartel owns.

Given the main message in this film is about how capitalism and monopolistic businesses run the world, there would be no way to keep this hidden from the cartel in that small area where everyone is literally situated right next to each other. Seeing as they were also selling out in the open, Wonka never explores how word didn’t get back to Scrubitt that Wonka — her main slave — was operating this store. Granted, this arc creates a magical scene at first that throws back to the first Willy Wonka movie when everyone dabbles in the amazing sweets in a wholly edible setting. But it doesn’t add up that six friends could keep this opening under wraps, with the cartel and the bribed-off Chief of Police constantly monitoring the city.

4 How Does Willy Wonka’s New Shop Exonerate Him?

Wonka Trailer Movie

Willy is vilified for the poisoning incident and ends up shipping off. He brokers a deal in the process for the cartel to buy his friends their freedom. After learning the cartel keeps Noodle imprisoned, he returns to expose the cartel’s corruption. However, it’s never explained how Willy has been exonerated from this past failure in operation. It’s plot convenience, allowing Willy and Hugh Grant’s Oompa Loompa, Lofty, to open a new factory.

Sure, the ledger Willy attains reveals the bribes and many of the cartel’s sins, but at no point is Willy cleared for his initial batch chocolates, which turned people into hairy trolls. Had the ledger revealed the cartel paid people off to do this, or if the rest of the police had gotten their confessions about the corporate sabotage in person, then viewers could have understood Willy being granted amnesty, forgiveness and new permission. As it stands, this is a major oversight in a Wonka narrative that harps on proper entrepreneurial practices and how launching a company requires more than just start-up ambition and public approval.

3 How Did Lofty Know to Help Willy?

Willy Wonka staring at an Oopma-Loompa in a jar in Wonka

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Wonka’s conclusion has Lofty flying into the cartel’s lair to free Willy and Noodle, and help them get the ledger. This leads to the cartel’s arrest, but there’s one problem: Lofty only arrives because Willy gives the cartel the chocolates that the Oompa Loompa loves. In the film, Lofty stalked Willy and always stole those sweets, claiming it was a debt Willy owed after stealing cocoa beans from Loompaland.

Lofty only did this in the dead of night and not in the day as he didn’t want to expose himself to humanity. There was also no fixed schedule as to his thefts. It’s all very random, making Willy’s plan quite a gamble. He boldly assumes Lofty would sniff the sweets out and come to the lair. It’s never even explained how Lofty knows to head to the basement where Wonka and Noodle are drowning in chocolate after being captured. This is a huge deus ex machina, albeit a funny Hail Mary play, as Lofty becomes a super-spy and action hero. Still, it doesn’t connect to Lofty’s aesthetic and the way Wonka positions him initially.

2 Why Didn’t Wonka and Lofty Plan Together?

Hugh Grant as an Oompa Loompa in Wonka

When Willy boards his ship, Lofty is there, adamant he won’t let Willy out of his sight until the debt is paid in full. They jump off, spotting the bomb the cartel put on board to ensure Willy would die and never make chocolates anywhere. Strangely enough, the movie doesn’t explain why they didn’t plan the heist for the ledger together. They do have a common enemy at this point. Apart from trying to kill the man who Lofty has to collect his debt from, they almost murdered Lofty too.

The Oompa Loompa should be all in on revenge and bringing the cartel to justice. Instead, the movie doesn’t include Lofty in the plan, which would have felt more organic. Him being the Plan B and trump card that Willy secretly allied with would have added more to the Ocean’s Eleven-like direction the finale takes, nodding to how George Clooney’s crew in that franchise partnered with former enemies such as the Night Fox. This would have been an intriguing way to kick off Lofty joining Wonka as a business partner in their new world of pure imagination in the conclusion.

1 Why Didn’t Scrubitt’s Slaves Escape?

Wonka sings at his new store

In the first act, Willy ends up in Scrubbit’s wash house, trapped after after racking up a bill at her hostel. He joins Noodle, Lottie and the gang, whose job is to wash clothes and pay off thousands of dollars Scrubitt allocates to their debt. However, Noodle keeps secreting Willy out to sell illicit chocolates. Later, everyone sneaks out to build the shop and help Willy out even more. It’s all well and good, as they make tons of money. But one has to question why they all never escaped in the first place.

They know the sewer system and how to evade authority. They could have used the initial money earned, gone somewhere less corrupt for Willy to open his store, and reunited with the friends and family left behind. Lottie even had her connections around town, so Noodle could still have secretly found her mother. Wonka creates an endearing story by remaining in town to break the cartel, but as emotional as that idea is, the logic doesn’t add up at the end of the day.

Wonka is currently in theaters.

Wonka Film Poster

Wonka

With dreams of opening a shop in a city renowned for its chocolate, a young and poor Willy Wonka discovers that the industry is run by a cartel of greedy chocolatiers.

Release Date
December 15, 2023

Director
Paul King

Genres
Fantasy , Adventure , Comedy

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